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Crypto Naysayer Ajay Banga to Become Next World Bank President

2 mins
Updated by Kyle Baird
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In Brief

  • Former MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga has been nominated to lead the World Bank.
  • The new president is expected to take over for David Malpass by May.
  • The executive has pushed for the digitalization of fiat currencies for cross-border payments.
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U.S. President Joe Biden nominated former MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank on Thursday. Notably, the executive has been critical of crypto in the past.

In a statement, the White House called Banga “a business leader with extensive experience leading successful organizations in developing countries and forging public-private partnerships to address financial inclusion and climate change.”

Will Banga Be Transformative for Crypto?

The new president is expected to take over for David Malpass by May. Malpass made his departure from the World Bank public last week. Meanwhile, Banga is currently the Vice Chairman of General Atlantic. Previously, the 63-year-old was President and CEO of Mastercard.

President Biden noted: “Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history… He has a proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris has predicted that Banga “will be a transformative World Bank President.” He, however, could also be transformative for the crypto industry.

New World Bank President has Been Critical of BTC

Back in 2018, Banga referred to cryptocurrency as “junk.” He emphasized, “The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly – that to me is not the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered as a medium of exchange.”

He also made it clear in 2020 that he doesn’t believe that current digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, will significantly contribute to increased financial inclusion. “Bitcoin per se is volatile in its valuation,” Banga noted at the Fortune Global Forum conference.

“Can you imagine someone who is financially excluded trading in a way to get included through a currency that could cost the equivalent of two Coca-Cola bottles today and 21 tomorrow? That’s not a way to get them. That’s a way to make them scared of the financial system,” he added.

Instead, he has pushed for digitalizing fiat currencies to revolutionize cross-border flow.

That said, Banga’s appointment comes when crypto legislation in the U.S. faces a political divide. Some Republicans have come forward to blame the SEC for the FTX crisis, while Democrats are pushing for stricter regulations. This has brought crypto bills in Congress to a standstill.

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Shraddha Sharma
Shraddha is an India-based journalist who worked in business and financial news before diving into the crypto space. As an investment enthusiast, she has also has a keen interest in understanding crypto from a personal finance standpoint.
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